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Old 01-16-2012, 03:07 PM   #31
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Re: The Roach Motel

Just switch to 12" tires and level'em off!
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:03 AM   #32
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Re: The Roach Motel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango
Just switch to 12" tires and level'em off!
I can just see us screaming down the road at 45 mph.
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:00 AM   #33
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Re: The Roach Motel

We dropped it off at the repair shop a week ago to have the alternator problem fixed. It sat in their lot for a few days and when they finally got around to looking at it discovered some bare wires and an aftermarket alternator. They did tape up the bare wires but instead of fixing the thing they tucked their tails and told me to come pick it up. Apparently the alternator setup ruined their intellect. Of course the batteries were almost dead from starting the thing three times so I brought them home to charge. This afternoon we'll reinstall the batteries and bring it home to wait for warmer weather so I can puzzle the thing out myself. They probably saved me a lot of money but I have to say that my opinion of the shop dropped like a stone.

I really hate working on engines, especially big engines shoehorned into van bodies, but if they can repair the stuff so can I.
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:52 AM   #34
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Re: The Roach Motel

Winter has officially returned to Michigan so progress has been glacial. One day last week was fairly warm so I opened up the handy-dandy hatch in the floor and pulled the fuel pickup out of the tank to give it a good cleaning. Of course I had to make two trips to the auto parts store to get the right special tools to disconnect the fuel lines. There are two small filters in the pickup and they were full of junk. A quick spray with some carb cleaner had them looking like new.

I had to crawl under the bus to reconnect the fuel gage wiring and while I was down there decided to pull out all the hoses going to the rear heater and unbolt the little diesel powered heater that was back behind the fuel tank. Turns out that the mystery controller was hooked up to that heater.

Once that was done I pulled the driver's seat and took out the rubber floor mat for a good cleaning. Man, that thing was nasty but after three scrubbings and some Armorall it looks almost like new now. The area under the floor mat was wet and a bit rusty so I may have a leaky windshield to fix.

The sun was quickly fading into the west but "when you've got it up, keep it up" so I decided to keep going and try removing some of the adhesive left behind when the side stripes were removed. I tried acetone and diesel which did work, more or less, but gasoline got the prize. I'd slather it on one section and wait a few minutes for the adhesive to soften, then scrape the goo off with my little plastic razor blade. I highly recommend the plastic razor blade (with holder) to anyone removing tape stripes. It's an essential tool. While working on one section (about 18") I'd slop some gas on the next section to soften it up while I scraped off the preceding section and the process went fairly quickly from there.

The fiberglass under the stripes is all shiny and bright but the rest is dull and drab. There are also some holes that need filling and some spots that need patching so I'll be learning the finer points of fiberglass repair when the weather turns in a month or so.

Looks like my project will kep me occupied a bit longer than I thought.
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Old 02-14-2012, 12:17 PM   #35
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Re: The Roach Motel

Quote:
Looks like my project will kep me occupied a bit longer than I thought.
Wish I had a nickel for every time I heard that! Just leep pluggin' away.
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Old 02-14-2012, 01:29 PM   #36
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Re: The Roach Motel

Yeah, my "project rule of thumb" is to make my best estimate on time and money then double them.
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Old 02-14-2012, 05:58 PM   #37
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Re: The Roach Motel

We're all picture junkies here so here are some recent ones.

This is the diesel powered heater and engine warmer that I removed last week. I downloaded the manual and was surprised to find out that it can be used to heat the bus and has a 7 day timer so the engine can be nicely warmed up when you come out in the morning. New, these things go for about $1700 so I'm going to clean it up and see what I can get for it on eBay. Maybe I can defray some of my unexpected costs. Or maybe I'll keep it around for a while and see what brainstorms blow through.

I used to be indecisive but now I'm not so sure.



Here's my magical plastic razor blade tool. I got it at the auto parts place for a few bucks.



And last, but not least, my grey tank setup. The plywood part will bolt directly to the floor from underneath and the tank straps will bolt to the floor with threaded rods and big washers. The back of it will snug up against the rear spring hanger so no worries about it moving fore and aft. It's only 15 gallons so I'm not expecting any big weight issues. It's made from exterior grade plywood but I'll be spraying it liberally with auto undercoating before mounting it.



The inside support arches

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Old 02-24-2012, 02:52 PM   #38
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Re: The Roach Motel

I spent a coupla days sorting out a good way to control the power entrance doors from inside and outside and did finally come up with a switching setup that was secure and fairly easy to use. I even considered using Lapeer20's idea of using an aftermarket remote keyless entry setup. THEN I started brainstorming some way to weather seal the doors (they're seriously leaky) and THEN I began to wonder just how much juice the door actuator would drain out of my starting batteries on a long boondock. To avoid the battery drain I thought of just bolting the two doors together into one unit and adding some sort of residential door lock. By that time my brain was well fried and the fix was looking way too much like work.

My solution to this whole magilla is to just replace the damn door altogether. I saw some Anderson storm doors being used on other busses and (wonder of wonders) they'll fit perfectly. I looked at the Andersen 4000 series and the Larson Secure Elegance doors. For all practical purposes they're identical and are available from Lowes and Home Depot for about $310. Both have a three-point latching system with an outside key lock and laminated glass.

I had also considered using an RV door but the storm doors look way better and actually cost a bit less with shipping factored in. The full view doors will keep the "bus look" so it's not too obvious that it's now an RV.



I finally got power to my Fantastic Vent and it works perfectly. The trim ring was busted up and the dome got scratched up when the previous driver tried to drive a 10'6" bus under a 10' 5" overhang. I called Fantastic Vent for parts and they're sending them out for FREE. You gotta love that kind of customer service.

My wiring adventure continues with the front clearance lights getting no power. I spent an hour or two trying to trace the wires back but no joy. I'll do what I should have done in the beginning and just run a new wire from the switch to the lights with a new fuse inline. Here's the control panel and the add-in sub panel. Of course nothing's marked.



To more easily trace the wires I pulled the front fiberglass trim. The trim piece covers some dead space above and to the left of the driver's seat that I'll make into a nice storage area. At least some good came out of this fiasco.

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Old 03-03-2012, 08:50 PM   #39
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Re: The Roach Motel

I finally got the front clearance lights working so I got to cross one job of my ever-expanding bus to-do list. Yesterday I found a Costco that stocked the GC2 6v golf cart batteries and picked up two at $80 apiece. Depending on who you talk to they're made by Excide or Interstate or Johnson Controls. They have a 220amp 20 hr. amp-hour rating. This week I'll make a battery box.



My battery cable supplies arrived and I cobbled up some short battery-to-battery cables for the chasis batteries. Soldering them up was harder than I thought it would be but the cables turned out pretty good. I re-did the first one twice before I was satisfied with the solder joint and even did a bit of destructive testing to be sure I was doing it right.



Those thick cables are a real bear to cut. I tried cutting them with dykes and that failed miserably. A hack saw worked better but left the cable end too chewed up to fit into the connector. I finally tried cutting them with my wood shop chop saw and that worked really well.





It looks like the weather up here in sunny Michigan may be turning a bit warmer soon and maybe I can get the engine stuff out of the way and get to the building phase.
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:17 PM   #40
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Re: The Roach Motel

I cut all my large wires like those with my metal chop saw.
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